As Naira Swap Crisis Recedes, Bandits Scale – up Activities, Kill 183, Kidnap 97 Nationwide-Investigation
By Orkula Shaagee, Nicolas Dekera, Dan Amasingha and Alfred Babs
At least 183 people have been killed and 97 abducted by bandits and kidnappers in the last 41 days since the crisis over the Naira redesigned ended on March 13, 2023.
The apex bank (CBN), had on October 26, 2022 announced the redesign on the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes, the result of which was a prolonged crisis characterised by shortage of Naira notes in circulation.
DAILY ASSET investigation revealed that within the period of the Naira redesign crisis, bandits and kidnappers went on leave, bringing reprieve to the public, as no individual was kidnapped or killed by the marauders.
Investigations across some states of the Federation revealed however, that as soon as the CBN reintroduced the old naira notes into circulation and shored up currency availability in the country, the kidnappers resumed their activities.
Bandits Kill 11, Suffer Losses in Niger
On March 18, five the Naria redesign crisis ended, bandits launched attack on some communities in Niger State, killing 11 people, including a Major in the Nigerian Army and three other soldiers.
Also, six local vigilante members in the affected communities were killed by the bandits.
The blood-letting gunmen had killed the deceased within two days and also abducted no fewer than 60 villagers during the invasion.
The latest onslaught occurred in an ambush, during which the Major and four members of the local vigilante were killed at Igu village on the Sarkin Pawa-Kaduna Road, in Munya Local Government Area of Niger State, Wednesday evening.
The vigilante members were part of the joint security operatives patrolling the area.
The soldiers, it was gathered, had successfully repelled the gunmen during a fierce gun battle in the same area, on Tuesday.
It was gathered that the soldiers and the vigilante members were on their way to recover the corpses of the slain vigilante members when the bandits, who were in the forest rained bullets on them.
The bandits were said to be in the forest to bury some of their fighters killed during a fierce battle with Military on Tuesday and were trying to find an escape route with their injured members.
The casualties would have been more if not for the gallantry exhibited by the security operatives in neutralizing the gunmen.
The gunmen were said to be no fewer than 70, hence it was easy for them to overpower the few security men who were merely going to evacuate the dead bodies of their colleagues.
Recall that on Tuesday evening, bandits believed to be the same group had invaded Paikoro and Munya Local Government Areas of Niger State, during which a Village Head and a medical practitioner were killed and over 60 people mostly women and children abducted.
The communities invaded are Beni in Munya LGA and Adunu in Paikoro LGA of the state.
At Beni, the gunmen killed the Village Head, Alhaji Salihu Ahmed, who was said to be on his way from the farm and abducted about 20 people, mostly women and children.
Also at Adunu community, a medical practitioner, Joshua Bitrus was killed as he was attempting to escape from the “war zone” into the bush on hearing gunshots.
A retired police officer, Moses Tanko, including over 40 others were abducted from the community.
Those who were lucky to have cash of between N10,000 to 20,000 to pay as ransom to the bandits were released while others were whisked away.
The whereabouts of over 60 abducted were yet to be located as there is no link yet with the bandits.
Barely 24 hours after gunmen killed a major and four soldiers in an ambush attacks in Igu village, Munya Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State, the Nigerian Air Force, on March 18 carried out a major offensive against bandits, killing “scores” of them in multiple airstrikes on their hideout.
The airstrikes were carried out on the bandits’ hideout in Camace in Kazai Ward, Tsohon Kabula village, all in Munya LGA of the state on Friday afternoon when the bandits were said to be regrouping after the killing of the major and other four soldiers.
Also killed during the ambush by the bandits were four local vigilantes while several others including some soldiers were injured and are said to be receiving treatment at a government health facility in Minna, the state capital.
A source close to Kamace village told our correspondent on the phone that about 20 out of those kidnapped from Adunu and Beni communities earlier escaped to freedom during the military onslaught on the bandits.
Although according to our source, the number of the bandits killed in the airstrikes could not be ascertained as they were bombed in two different locations, he said out of the 35 motorcycles of the bandits sighted in the bush and carrying three people each, only seven escaped.
He said the first group of the bandits that were hit by the airstrike were trying to take cover at Kamace Primary School before they were struck, leaving over 30 of them and their motorcycles destroyed.
He disclosed further that the second group that were killed by the airstrike had actually come to evacuate the bodies of their colleague, unknown to them that the fighter jet had not left the vicinity when an unspecified number of them were neutralised.
Our source further added that following the heavy causalities suffered from the bombardment, the bandits are now in disarray, scrambling for safety, adding that “some of them were running towards pole wires, Kudami in Kafin Koro, Paikoro local government area and Rijana forest in Kaduna State”.
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Umar, confirmed the air raid but declined to comment further.
KADUNA: Bandits Kill 22 in Renewed Terror Attack
From Nicolas Dekera (Kaduna), Alfred Babs (Ilorin),
No fewer than 22 persons so far have been killed in Kaduna as bandits renew hostility in Kaduna.
Bandits killed six vigilante members on the 30th of March at Awaro checkpoint in the western part of Birnin-Gwari, Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
It was gathered that the incident took place at about 4.00pm on Wednesday.
On the 13th of March 2023 16 were killed in U/Wakili Zango Kataf.
In another instance, at least eight members of the Atak’Njei community in Zangon Kataf Local Area of Kaduna State were killed by suspected bandits on April 13. The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan confirmed the development, in a statement to newsmen.
Also, no fewer than 29 people were killed in attack by bandits on Runji Village in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The attack which occurred at about 10 pm on Saturday night, April 15, came barely three days after bandits killed eight people at the Atak’Njei community also in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan who confirmed the latest incident in a statement, said that several houses in the community were burnt down while some residents were injured by the attackers.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir e-Rufai has condemned the killings, describing them as unacceptable and unjustifiable.
KWARA: Kidnappers Abduct Three
Gunmen, in two separate instances have abducted three persons in Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State.
It was gathered that the incident happened around Aboto and Ajelanwa road between 2:00 – 6:00pm on Sunday, March 24, 2023.
Our Correspondent gathered that the first incident occurred when one Abdulfatai, a dealer in Aluminum scrap of Alagogo compound, was returning from the farm with his three children inside a vehicle when they were waylaid.
“Abdulfatai escaped leaving the three children in the vehicle. The kidnappers freed the two younger siblings after they said they could find their way back home and abducted Abdulbasit who is about 5yrs old.
“The second incident occurred around 6: pm when one Saheed popularly known as Bakayoko was conveying Ramat who is an apprentice at a chemist store and her colleague (both teenagers of about 18 years) on a motorcycle when they were accosted.
“But Bakayoko pretended that he wanted to get his shoes that fell off and escaped leaving the girls who were in their apprentice uniforms,” a source in the community said.
It was reliably gathered that the kidnappers have reached out to Abdultafai demanding for a N10m ransom to free his child.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Kwara State command, Ajayi Okasanmi confirmed the incident in a telephone chat adding that one of the suspects has been arrested.
“Yes, it’s true and we have arrested one of the kidnappers. But the investigation is still ongoing,” he said.
TARABA: 15 Killed as Bandits Sack Taraba Village
Gunmen numbering about 60 invaded Garin Baka village in Ardo-Kola Local Government Area of Taraba State on March 31, killing at least 15 people.
It was gathered that the gunmen came into the village from at about 7.30pm on Friday and fire gunshots into different directions.
It was also gathered that they set houses on fire, rustled cows and looted shops and warehouses.
A resident, Yakubu Garba, said when the attackers came, many of the villagers were praying inside a mosque.
He stated further that the prayer was halted and there was pandemonium in the village as residents ran for dear life.
Garba said some of the residents escaped into a nearby forest, but two of his family members were among those killed during the attack.
He said the number of the deceased could be “more than 15” because many people escaped into the forest with gun wounds.
He said so far, more than 10 bodies had been recovered while several people, including women and children, were missing.
Garba added that soldiers and policemen were drafted to the community.
The spokesperson for the Taraba State Police Command, SP Usman Abdullahi, confirmed the attack but could not give the actual figure of those killed.
According to him, the official report of the incident was being awaited from Sunkani Police Division.
FCT: Gunmen Kill Abuja Cattle Dealer, Abduct Daughter
Gunmen in the early hours of Saturday, April 18 killed a cattle dealer, Isiaka Dogara, and abducted his 14-year-old daughter, Fatima, during an attack on their residence in Chitumu, Gwagwalada area council of the Federal Capital Territory.
The secretary to the community village head, Muhammad Liman, said about 15 armed men struck a few minutes past 12am, as they went straight to the house of the cattle dealer.
“They came in some minutes past 12am and went into the cattle dealer’s compound. They swiftly abducted him alongside one of his daughters, Fatima, who’s about 14-year-old. Unfortunately, they killed Dogara, while his wives raised the alarm.
“Three other residents who attempted to intervene were injured, and one Adamu Musa was shot in the abdomen, and was referred to the Abuja University Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada.”
The FCT Police Command could not confirm the incident as phone calls and text messages to the Police Public Relations Officer, Josephine Adeh, were not replied to as of press time.
BENUE: Gunmen Kill 93 in IDPs Camp, Community
Several persons killed in a deadly attack launched on the Umogidi community of Entekpa Adoka district in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State by suspected killer herdsmen.
It was gathered learnt that the ugly incident which occurred on Wednesday, April 4, led to the death of 46 persons, including a son of the Otukpo Local Government Chairman, Hon. Bako Eje.
Lt Col. Paul Hemba (retd.), Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Security confirmed the development to newsmen.
He said, though the 46 corpses have been recovered, casualty figures may likely rise due to life-threatening injuries sustained by scores of residents during the attack.
“I can confirm to you that there was an attack in Umogidi and as of this morning, the casualty figure, from those who were seen physically from what I was told, was 46. But the figure may be higher because some people are still reported missing,” he said.
Similarly, no fewer than 43 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were killed in a late-night attack on LGEA Primary School, Mgban, Nyiev Council Ward, Guma Local Government Area of Benue state by suspected armed herdsmen.
Though details of the incident indicated that the primary school, which houses IDPs, was attacked at about 10p.m. on Good Friday, April 7 by the marauders.
The source hinted that among the 43 corpses so far recovered from the scene of the attack were those of pregnant women and children, while scores sustained severe injuries and many were still missing.
The attack came a few days after a similar attack in Umogidi village, Enetekpa Adoka district of Otukpo LGA claimed 52 lives.
ZAMFARA: Bandits Kidnapped 85 People in Zamfara
Bandits operating in Zamfara and Katsina States on April 7 abducted 85 women and children in Wanzamai community of Tsafe local government area in Zamfara State.
They have, also agreed to collect N20,000 from each of the victims amounting to N1.7 million.
The bandits also demanded that military operatives deployed to Wanzamai village should be relocated to another axis, vowing that they would continue to kidnap if the military personnel were not removed.
NASARAWA: Gunmen Kidnap Ex- Deputy Governor
A former Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Prof. Onje Gye-Wado was whisked away on Friday morning, April 7 when gunmen broke into his residence in Gwagi village in the Wamba Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
Nasarawa State Police Public Relations Officer, Ramhan Nansel, who confirmed the abduction, said the former Deputy Governor was released on Sunday.
Former deputy governor of Nasarawa State Onje Gye-Wado has been released, following his abduction last Friday.
Nansel said the former deputy governor spent two days in captivity before his release on Sunday night, following sustained pressure from a search and rescue team.
PLATEAU: Kidnappers Kill Ex-Customs Officer, Abduct Son
Some gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on March 28, killed a retired Customs officer, Micah Gochin, in Plateau State.
It was learnt that after killing the man, the gunmen abducted his son and fled the scene.
The incident, it was further gathered, occurred on Sunday night, March 28, 2023 at the Bauchi Ring Road Community, opposite the University of Jos Senior Staff Quarters in the Jos North Local Government Area.
A resident of the community, Madaki Joseph, told our correspondent, “It was around 11pm on Sunday night that the gunmen came to the community. They went straight to the retired officer’s residence and shot him dead while trying to kidnap him. But they did not kill his son as they went away with him.
Also, several people were on Sunday night, April 16, 2023 killed, when armed men invaded a community in Mangu Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State.
A source from the community said that several persons were killed when the gunmen stormed the community at about midnight and opened fire on the people causing pandemonium.
He added that several other persons were injured as they scampered for safety.
Confirming the sad incident, the Director, Plateau State Peace Building Agency, Joseph Lengmang, expressed sadness, describing it as a disturbing trend of deteriorating security situation in some parts of the state.
In a press statement, he lamented that the current attack was coming on the heels of pockets of attacks recorded in some parts of Barkin Ladi and Jos North LGA in the last few days.Borno:
Troops Kill ‘35 Terrorists’, Destroy Camps in Sambisa Forest
Troops of Operation Hadin Kai and 199 Special Forces battalion in collaboration with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) have reportedly killed 35 Boko Haram insurgents in Sambisa Forest.
The Sambisa Forest in Borno state has been the target of major security operations, as it is said to provide a major cover for terrorists.
Intelligence sources told Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency publication focused on the Lake Chad region as published by The Cable, an online medium that the troops made the unprecedented incursions into Boko Haram hideouts, in line with efforts to completely eliminate the insurgents operating along the fringes of the forest.
According to Zagazola Makama, the sources said the “clearance operation” began from Awulari on April 17 and progressed further into other identified insurgents’ camps around Garno and Alafa.
The sources added that the troops overwhelmed the insurgents with superior firepower and killed 18 of them.
However, a member of CJTF was said to have died during the gun duel.
The troops further “stormed and cleared Izzah and Farisu on April 19”, where they “ferociously engaged dozens of the resisting terrorists in a heavy gun battle”.
“The troops overpowered the terrorists after about 30 minutes of gun battle, killing 18 of them and recovered several motorcycles, AK 47 rifles and an anti-aircraft gun.”
Zagazola said the troops further moved to Farisu where they eliminated an additional eight terrorists.
The publication further said three terrorists were killed by the troops in Alafa including one commander simply identified as “Salafi”, while two motorcycles were recovered.
“On April 20, in Ukuba, the ground troops made contact with another set of the insurgents, killing seven, while others escaped with bullet wounds. The troops recovered one truck and two 122 artillery guns.
“The gallant troops moved further to clear Garin Glucose where they neutralised additional two terrorists while other terrorists hastily withdrew and avoided making contact with the approaching troops.”
The sources told the publication that the troops “successfully” cleared terrorists’ hideouts in Garno, Alafa, Alafa D, Garin Doctor, Njumia, Izzah, Farisu, Somalia, Ukuba, Garin Glucose, Garin Ba’aba, and Bula Abu Amir communities in Bama LGA in Borno state.
Some women that were held captive by the insurgents were said to have been rescued.
Senate Defers Valedictory Session to Saturday
Trailed by unresolved wrangling over the election of its principal officers in the 10th assembly, the Senate yesterday postponed its earlier announced valedictory session.
The Green Chamber is yet to agree on who occupies what position in the incoming Senate principal officers’ election, following the All Progressives Congress (APC) to allocate the positions to the six geo-political zones of the country.
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had zoned the Senate Presidency of the forthcoming 10th National Assembly to the South-South; and the Speakership of the House of Representatives to the North-West.The party also zoned the Deputy Senate Presidency to the North-West, and Deputy Speakership to the South-East.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, announced yesterday that the Senate has rescheduled its valedictory session to Saturday.
On the other hand, the House Representatives yesterday held its Valedictory Session.
Lawan had announced on Tuesday that the Upper Chamber would hold its valedictory session on Thursday.
The Senate President told members of the Senate Press Corps that the shift in the date was due to a scheduled meeting of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu with the lawmakers of the incoming 10th National Assembly on Thursday.
The Senate held plenary on Tuesday as well as yesterday.
“By the grace of God, we will still hold plenary today and then our valedictory session will be on Saturday.
“It is because tomorrow, Mr President, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be meeting with the Senators-elect and members-elect at 2pm.
“And we believe that a session as significant, important, historical and memorable as valedictory session of the Senate requires a whole day. Not one, two, three hours. And therefore we pushed it to Saturday,” Lawan said.
The Ninth Senate officially ends its four-year tenure on 11th June, 2023.
Lawan hinted that the 10th Senate would be inaugurated on Tuesday, 13th June, 2023.
Memories, Emotions as Reps Dissolve 9th Assembly
By Eze Okechukwu & Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
Memories and emotions went high yesterday during the valedictory session of the House of Representatives, as Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila officially dissolved the 9th assembly.
Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House, had moved a motion to commence the valedictory session, while Rep Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader seconded the motion.
Gbajabiamila, in his valedictory speech, said: “I will miss all of you and miss this house, you have enriched my life and I cannot express how much you have impacted the house.
In an emotion laden speech, Gbajabiamila said the joint efforts in nation building by members were to ensure that the dreams of the nation’s founding fathers did not die.
“We have come, we have seen and while we are yet to conquer, my enthusiasm to serve remained undiminished,” he said.
According to him, it has been the honour of his life to serve the people of the country.
“I thank my constituency and I express gratitude to my colleagues for the privilege to serve.”
He said since he assumed office, the house had changed drastically in such a manner he had not witnessed, adding that the change came with speed as witnessed in the last four years.
He said the 9th House of Reps had governed well with some interventions, including COVID-19 pandemic, Police Reform Bill, Electoral Acts Amendment Bill, Constitutional Review, among others.
“We have worked to take advantage of social and economic transformation that benefit us; we have left our mark on every sectors of our national life,” he said.
He said the House was able to introduce discipline on the Appropriation Act that now commenced from January to December of every year.
According to him, the 9th House of Reps has ended and the 10th will commence.
“I urge you to ensure that you are not found wanting by man or God in the final judgment.”
Also, Rep. Julius Ihovhre (APC-Edo), said he would forever cherish the friendship he made in the 9th assembly, adding that such relationship would last forever.
He commended the speaker for leading the house well and perfectly and demonstrated that he could manage a diverse group of people.
“In your new roles as the Chief of Staff to the President, the challenges you will face are more than here, we plead with you not to abandon the spirit of excellence,” he said.
He said Nigeria required the kind of leader with a sense of mission, while urging Gbajabiamila to ensure the Federal Government paid attention to basic education.
Rep. Luke Onofiong (PDP-Akwa-Ibom) said members had made relationships that would last forever and commended his constituency for giving him the privilege to serve.
He commended the speaker for accommodating members and relaxing the rules to give new members a voice, noting that the speaker was gentle enough to accommodate their errors.
He urged the house to take the judiciary seriously with salary review.
Rep. Yusuf Gadgi (APC-Plateau) on his part said, “In my constituency, Muslims are 30 per cent while Christians constitute 70 per cent but they have always sent me here and for using me as a good example of how Nigeria should behave.
“What I want to say is the message of forgiveness, I want, on your behalf and other members, to forgive one another. In this assignment, we must have offended one another.
His comment on forgiveness generated some uproar, as members grumbled endlessly.
Unperturbed, Gagdi said “irrespective of the grumbling, what is right is right and people must learn to forgive others”.
Rep. Aisha Duku (APC-Borno) expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the first woman to represent her constituency.
“Mr Speaker you have blessed me to bless others, I have changed the perspective of politics in my area because this is the first time that a Fulani woman and a Muslim will come out from that area.
“I have been able to enlighten people and bring out the women to vote, which hitherto they had not.
“I have participated in Bills assented to by the president and today they are laws, I commend my committee as the Chairman, House Committee on INEC, for supporting me.
Duku said she was now a better Nigerian, as she traveled to a lot of places in the country but her only regret was that no gender bill was passed.
In attendance at the session of the 9th assembly were former speakers, House Leader such as Gali Na’abba, Patricia Etteh, Mulikat Akande and some former clerks of NASS.
Tinubu Directs NEC to Work on Subsidy Removal Palliatives
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu, yesterday directed the National Economic Council (NEC) led by Vice President Kashim Shettima to device an approach and begin the process of working on interventions to mitigate the impact of subsidy removal on the Nigerians.
Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, stated this after leading some major oil marketers on a courtesy visit to the President at the State House in Abuja.
Addressing correspondents after the meeting, Abiodun, who was a former chairman of the oil marketers association, stated that the marketers expressed solidarity with the President for removing the N4trn subsidy burden, a move that can enhance the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation to states.
The group of marketers subsequently announced their intention to donate to 50 to 100, fifty-seater mass transit buses that would run on CNG, costing N100m each and N10bn cumulatively, to cushion the effect of the removal within the next 30 days.
They are hoping other corporate bodies can emulate their action.
The President’s meeting with the oil marketers comes amid the controversy and protests trailing the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit known as petrol.
President Tinubu, during his inaugural speech on May 29 at the Eagle Square in Abuja had announced the removal of subsidy payment on petrol. The President said that the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari did not make provisions for subsidy in the 2023 budget beyond June.
Many Nigerians had expected that the new price regime would come into effect by July 1 but almost immediately after the presidential pronouncement, queues resurfaced at filling stations across the country even as retail outlets hoard the product and increase prices.
Already, a litre of petrol is being sold at over N500 across the country following NNPC price adjustment and the presidential pronouncement on subsidy removal.
Fuel queues have since surged for the vital commodity, compounding the traffic situation in parts of the country, even as transportation cost skyrocket to more than 100% increment.
The Organised Labour had resolved to embark on a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday but was restrained by a court order of Monday, June 5, 2023. The Organised Labour subsequently shelved its planned strike after a meeting with the Federal Government late Monday.
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